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My 4 Favorite Productivity Tips I Learned From Brian TracyMonday, April 25th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

When I first started out on my journey of finding better ways to be more effective and efficient in the office as a coach, one of the productivity experts that I studied a lot was Brian Tracy.

Brian Tracy is one of America’s leading authorities on the enhancement of personal effectiveness, leadership, time management, goals, motivation, and success.

Brian’s stuff spoke to me.  It was so simple and incredibly applicable to everything we do as college coaches.

I really have gotten 100’s of amazing productivity tips from Brian Tracy, but here are four of my favorites:

1.  Be open to new ideas. Because I was so overwhelmed with work, I made the mistake when I first got into coaching 17 years ago of thinking that I had no time to learn about time management or even maybe that I already knew everything I needed to know.  I knew that the way I was working wasn’t working, so opening up to new productivity ideas and then applying them has been a game changer for how I now am able to get work done in the office.

2.  Develop a plan. Tracy is always saying that successful men and women are both effective and efficient. They do the right things, and they do them in the right way. They are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of their output. Develop a plan, then decide what is the most important thing to do, and then decide how to do it.  Love it. This piece of advice was instrumental in me developing my Green Time Management System for Coaches.

3.  Set priorities. As a coach, we will never have enough time to do everything that needs to be done, so we must choose.  Tracy’s advice on this is that you must continually set priorities on your activities. He wants you to constantly be asking yourself, what is the most valuable use of my time right now?

4.  Start with your top tasks. The natural tendency is to spend a lot of valuable time clearing up smaller and easier things first. Tracy believe though that the self-discipline of organizing your work and focusing on your highest-value tasks is the starting point of getting your time under control and lowering your stress levels.

Another great tip from Tracy is that If you want to be a big success in any area, find out what other successful people in that area are doing—and do the same things until you get the same results.  Brian Tracy has been one of the many successful people that I have studied on time management principals.

If you are interested in seeing how I have taken what all of the successful experts on time management out there have done with the business world and see how I have applied it to what we do as college coaches, for now until my new website is up and running in a few weeks, go to www.mandygreencps.com.  If you want more productivity advice delivered into your inbox every few weeks, sign up for my free newsletter!  Have a great week!

The Smart Way to Control Your ScheduleMonday, April 11th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

Due to the nature of the work, coaches have to follow a flexible schedule. You need to be free to accommodate the needs of your teams and recruits and other administrative staff with whom you work.

But coach, you don’t have to turn your schedules over to others as much as you may think.

The most successful people in any profession are usually highly scheduled. Have you ever met a successful doctor who tells patients to “come on in any ol’ time”?

No, doctors have highly scheduled lives. They have blocks of time set up for seeing patients, performing surgeries, and working at their hospitals. They know how many patients they need to see each day to create the lifestyles they choose to live.

Is it possible for you to run your program the same way? It’s certainly more efficient than the way most of us coaches run our programs now.

Time blocking involves consistently setting aside time for the high priority activities.  Time blocking will provide some much needed structure in your day and as long as you avoid getting distracted and commit to just doing the one thing, it will allow you to complete tasks or at least complete a large part of a task before moving on to something else.  The fundamental rationale for time blocking is the knowledge that if high priority activities don’t get scheduled, they usually get done feebly, fruitlessly, or not at all.

Here is how it works. Decide on the tasks you will do for a particular day. Instead of just having a “to do” list with everything listed in order of importance and working down the list, take a few items from the list that are top priority for accomplishing what you need to accomplish, and block out whatever time you want to allocate to that task. This can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. The point is to only allocate the allotted time to each task.

What activities should you time block for?

Time Blocking at Work
What if you had two uninterrupted hours every day to focus on nothing else but your most important activities? The time might be spent planning or working on recruiting, developing your team and staff, getting caught up on administrative work, or learning something that will add value to your program. How would spending just two hours dedicated to the really important things improve your program? Keep in mind that these two hours are focused, uninterrupted work time and do not include all the other time spent traveling, in meetings, talking by phone, sending email and other activities also directly related to achieving these activities.

Personal Time Blocking
You cannot be effective in your work if your inner reserves are depleted. Making time to “recharge your batteries” will actually boost your energy. Block time for exercise, contemplation, relaxation or recreation. Be sure to carve out time for family or friends as well. And, before committing to anything else, be sure to pencil in some vacation time as well. Then, treat appointments with yourself as respectfully as you would with others.

After talking to all of the coaches that I have worked with since coming on board with Dan Tudor about 10 years ago, I would say that the number one reason coaches do not reach their goals is because they did not allocate enough time in the office to accomplish the goal or goals that they set for their recruiting, team, staff, or for themselves.

Tonight, figure out what your 3 most important activities are for tomorrow.  Then open your calendar and block off the time you need to get these activities worked on.  When it is time to get to work, WORK! Protect that time and don’t let anything interrupt that time you have allocated to work on a significant task or goal that you have.  Good luck!

Is Your To-Do List Working For or Against You?Monday, March 28th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

I want to share a great way to eliminate running around like a chicken-with-your-head-cut-off and always feeling busy.  It’s as simple as creating a proactive way to set up their to-do list.  

A daily to-do list for coaches I’m finding with the coaches that I work with tends to be a reactive list – it’s based on what has just recently come up and is in your immediate area of concern for that time.

As you are working through your reactive list, by the end of the day you have worked hard, done lots, but achieved very little.

Sound familiar?

It makes for a “busy” coach – but not necessarily an effective coach. It’s like you’re always chasing your tail!

So, how can you make your To Do list work for you?

Getting organized so you can be less “busy” means creating a proactive system that works best for you and saves you time and effort.

I believe being proactive begins by making a master list of everything you can think of that has to be done over the course of the year as a coach.  To do this, take out a piece of paper, or turn on your computer, and as they occur

On a piece of paper or on the computer, record all the “must-do, should-do, gotta-do” tasks that pop into your mind. Whenever you think of something new that you have to do, write it down on your master list.  

This Master To-Do List holds all of the tasks that need to get done over the course of the year–and gets them out of your brain until you’re ready to act.   This list then becomes the central control list for your coaching life.  

I have my Master To-Do List organized by the month that I should work on it.   That way I already have a list that covers everything that I can be proactive on in the coming weeks so I can avoid rushing to do it last minute.   

At the beginning of the month, I pick a few things from my Master List and put them into my daily planning pages in my Green Time Management System for Coaches that I created.  

Having this list allows me to:

  1. Free up my mind so I don’t have to remember everything.  
  2. Be proactive with my schedule and get things done in advance so I can avoid a lot of running around frantically trying to finish a lot of last minute things. There is no more “oh crap, I forgot we have to do this” for me…for the most part .
  3. I can plan ahead which tasks I NEED to do and which tasks can be delegated.
  4. Being proactive on my to-do list has made it easier to meet goals, it has reduced a lot of busyness, and I have been able to work more efficiently.

If you are interested in hearing more of the details of how I do this, please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to read about How to Restart a Bad Day and get other productivity advice that is applicable to what we do as coaches, go to www.mandygreencps.com and sign up for my newsletter.  Have a productive week!     

The On Purpose PersonMonday, February 29th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

In a typical day in the office, getting everything done on your to-do list is one thing.  Managing or controlling what you get done, how you get it done, when you get it done, and still have time at the end of the day to do more is a completely different thing and is something most coaches struggle with.

Coach, have you ever sat down and really analyzed how effective and efficient you are being with your day?  Which one do you focus on?  Is one more important to you than the other?

In his book, The On-Purpose Person, author Kevin McCarthy describes the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. “Efficiency is doing things right in the most economical way possible; effectiveness is doing the right things that get you closer to your goals.”
 
It seems to me that being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.  I believe that what you do is infinitely more important than how you do it.   Now, being efficient is still important, but we all know that it is useless unless applied to the right things. 
 
There are two ways for you to increase productivity that are inversions of each other:

  1. Limit daily tasks just to the important to shorten your work time (80/20).
    2. Shorten work time to limit your tasks so you only focus on the important (Parkinson’s Law)

    A few months ago I wrote about Pareto’s 80/20 rule.  If you don’t remember Pareto’s Law, it can be summarized as follows: 20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production.

    Ask yourself these two questions about your program, your team, and your staff:
    –Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness? 
    –Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
     
    Once you have identified your top 20%, commit to scheduling those activities into your day, everyday into your Winning In the Office Time Management System For College Coaches.  Then, go the next step further by putting a time restriction on how long you will give yourself to complete each high-priority activity.   

Timothy Ferriss, in The 4-Hour Workweek introduces a concept called Parkinson’s Law.  Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. 

 

The best solution I think is to use 80/20 and Parkinson’s Law together:  Identify the few critical high-payoff tasks that contribute most to effectiveness and efficiency within your program and then schedule each activity with very short and clear deadlines. 
 
Coach, it is critical to the success of your program that you know what your high-priority activities are and are incorporating those high-payoff activities into your schedule consistently every single day.  Once identified, set an aggressive deadline for each task and block off certain sections of your day where you focus on nothing but that task to ensure completion. 
 
If you haven’t identified your high-priority tasks and are not setting aggressive start and end times for their completion, the unimportant emails, phone calls, and people popping their head into your office becomes the important.  These unimportant things can and will eat up a good chunk of your day if you continue to let them. 
 
You will be amazed at how much better you will feel when you take control of your day.  A more productive you in the office will lead to less stress and less chaos. Even better, I can almost 100% guarantee you that just by your becoming more productive with your day, your family, your team, and your staff will be much happier as well.   

6 Things Successful Coaches Do Within The 1st Work HourMonday, February 22nd, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies 

I read a lot about how successful people manage their day so that I can be more productive during the day.  A pretty consistent message being sent is that successful people understand the importance of having control over their mornings and know how to use that time wisely.  These people are able to weed out the noise in their first hour and focus on what matters to grow their career or program.

The first hour of the workday is critical for coaches, since it can affect your productivity level and mindset for the rest of the day.

Now, a lot of coaches I have spoken to over the last year tell me that they are buried in minutiae. Or at least that’s how they feel. Too many emails to read, phone calls to make, text messages to send, errands to run, practices to plan, recruiting events to attend, books to read, and camps to run.

Something’s got to give. In most cases, unfortunately for coaches, they are putting in longer and longer hours and sacrificing their personal rest and recovery or family time.  

Coaching doesn’t have to be this way. You can change your relationship with time and control your day better by establishing a good morning routine.    

Today I want to show you how to maximize your productivity by taking full advantage of the first few hours of the workday.  Jumpstarting your day the right way will not only get you started on the right foot but can help prevent those dreaded end-of-day crises from erupting. Leverage your morning hours as effectively as possible by following these seven simple steps.

  1. Have a Plan

Using the mornings (or the night before) to do big-picture thinking helps you prioritize and set the trajectory of the day.  Decide what are the 3 most important tasks that you’d like to accomplish in order for you to feel like the day was a success and will ultimately take you a step closer to reaching your career, program, or team goals.  Then put it in your schedule.  

  1. Get in Early

Ideally, get in an hour or 2 before the chaos starts.  Being an early bird gives you a period of uninterrupted, near magical time where you can work on your major goals in isolation, shielded from the screaming demands you will no doubt face throughout the course of the day. Those early hours in the office (or even at home) are a great time to focus on your recruiting or another important work project because it tends to be quieter and more distraction-free.

  1. Email Routine

All time management experts will tell you to not check your email first thing in the morning.  However, I’m pretty sure 99% of us do check email pretty near the start of the day and email is an important part of our job.  The trick is to have a proactive routine with it first thing in the morning so you are not reacting to it all day long.  

  1. Check in with your people

A 10-minute meeting with your fellow coaches (if you have them) is a great way to start the day and to keep everyone motivated and on course. Also taking the time to greet your staff first thing with a smile will help build rapport and camaraderie and it can have a significant impact on their attitude and productivity throughout the day.  Discuss the plan of action and get everybody focused on their most important responsibilities for the day.  Make are all questions are answered, then leave each other alone for the next couple hours so all can get to work without needing to interrupt each other.   

  1. Tackle what’s most important

Once your staff meeting is done, go back to your office, close the door, shut off your phone and email, block off as much time as you need (I do 90 minutes) and get to work on your most important task.  

Great mornings don’t just happen. They’re planned and nurtured. It’s about creating a routine that works, that keeps you inspired and not just wired, about making you happier and satisfied.

Mandy Green is the creator of Coaching Productivity Strategies (Join her on Facebook here) and the author of Green Time Management Workbook and Planner for College Coaches, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your time and energy with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. She has created a unique daily planning system to help College Coaches stay on track for these goals each and every day.

Create a System to Write Recruiting Messages FasterMonday, February 8th, 2016


by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

As College coaches, we write a lot.  We write to juniors and seniors we are recruiting or have already committed, we write to parents, or we are writing to youth coaches who have players we want. 
 
If you just sit down and try to come up with a brilliant message that will get opened, read, and returned, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time staring at a blank screen as you try to figure out what to write. 
 
Also, if you don’t have a lot of experience writing recruiting messages or are not a very good writer, it can feel incredibly time-consuming.  But more importantly, if you don’t have a strategy or workflow, I have found it takes even longer. So what I want to do today is to share what I learned from Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.”
 
Michal Hyatt uses a 10 step process to write his blog posts quicker. I highly encourage you to try when you have to send out your next batch of recruiting emails. I know that it will help to speed up the recruiting writing process.

  1. Start writing the night before.  Come up with what you want to write about and then rough out the details. The idea is to just get the process started and then let it simmer in the background of your thinking as it sits in your subconscious  I’ve found that helps me so much. If I just sit down and try to write, I sometimes end up just being stumped, looking at a blank screen not knowing what to write about.
  2. Use your downtime to think. I want you to think about when you get your best ideas. Usually our best ideas happen when we’re relaxed. That’s why a lot of good ideas come to you in the shower and other places. By starting your recruiting message the night before, in your downtime until you actually write the email, you can purposefully be thinking about the next set of messages that you could send out.
  3. When it is time to actually write your recruiting messages, go offline. Put yourself in a distraction-free environment where your phone and email notifications are turned off.The thing that kills writing recruiting emails and turns a 30-minute process into a 7-hour process is when you’re allowing yourself to be bombarded by social media and other kinds of interruptions.
  4. Turn on some music to get into a creative mindset.  What kind of music will get you focused and creative?
  5. Give yourself a time limit and then set a timer. I have found this helps a lot to create more urgency and helps to keep me focused on the work at hand.
  6. Use a template. Writing recruiting emails can go a lot faster when you have a premade writing template that you are following.  By following a certain skeletal structure I’m not having to create that from scratch every time or having to guess what the flow of the email I am creating is going to be. For great ideas on what should go into your template, go to www.dantudor.com.
  7. Write without editing. Coaches can get stuck and it really slows them down if they’re editing as they go. Try to just write without interruption as fast as you can and just try to get it all out.
  8. Then go back and edit.
    1. Look to eliminate redundancy
    2. Try to eliminate complex sentences and make them simpler and more straightforward.
    3. Ask yourself if there is an easier or simpler way to say that or a simpler word to use?
  9. Add the pictures or links. We try to put in a lot of links to get recruits to keep going back to our website.  Or sometimes we use a lot of pictures to paint a picture of what it would be like to attend our school.
  10. Send to a colleague to preview. There are things they might pick up that you wouldn’t pick up otherwise.

Now, these 10 steps may work great for you.  If not, hopefully at least I have you thinking about how you could tweak this to find a formula or process that would work for you.  I think the important thing is that if you can define a process for yourself, no matter what that is, and then spend the next several weeks optimizing that so you know exactly what the steps are, it’ll be much faster for you to get in the groove and be productive with writing.
 
My hope in giving you this process as well is that it will take a little bit of the stress out of writing recruiting letters for you, because it can be very stressful. And when we get stressed about it, we actually end up procrastinating or putting it off, and then those consistent recruiting messages we are supposed to be sending never happen.
 
So no matter what kind of writer you are, come up with a system. It doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from the system from time to time. I do. But at least you have a track to get you started and a way to get your recruiting messages out that works for you 90% of the time.

Hope you have a productive rest of the week! 

Mandy Green

P.S. – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What do you do to make time for recruiting? Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com. If you want more tips about how to save time with recruiting, go to my website at www.mandygreencps.com.  

P.P.S.  If you have found this article helpful, please share it with your staff or other work colleagues!  Studying time and energy management over these last 4 years and applying it to my coaching and recruiting has been a game changer for me.  I am committed to helping coaches get more important work done in less time so more time can be spent with family and friends.  Thanks!

Save Time and Mental Energy With Tracking FormsMonday, February 1st, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

A common time management mistake is to try to use your memory to keep track of all of the tasks you need to accomplish.  I don’t care how good you think your memory is: the fact is that most people simple cannot rely on their memory alone to keep track of everything that needs to get done.  

Below is one of the many simple tracking forms that I created to help me keep track of some of the repetitive things that I need to keep track of as a coach.  

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I use the USD Player Tracking Form to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with everybody on my team over the summer.  I look at it on Sunday night and decide who I will contact and when I will do it.  Then I schedule it into my Coaching Productivity Day Planner.  First thing in the morning when I am doing my strategic planning, I relook at the list to see who I am contacting and I make sure I don’t need to add anybody. 

Instead of wasting brain power having to try to remember who I have or haven’t been in touch with, this sheet shows me who I have been in contact with, when I contacted them, and what type of communication was used.  Instead of wasting time trying to remember, this sheet allows me to make quick decisions about who I should contact, take decisive action and fire off a quick text, email, or phone call.  Then I record it.  Done.  Now I don’t have to remember or think about this for the rest of the day.  Love it.      

These types of forms are great because:
1. They are simple and easy to fill out.
2. They give you a way to keep track of a lot of information.
3. They give you a visual picture of what you have and haven’t done. 
4. I don’t waste a lot of time having to try to remember who I need to get in contact with.  It is all on paper (or on the computer for some things).
5. You can track your results. 

Here are some of the other ways that I have used this type of form.
1. I use this form to keep track of my top recruits to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with them.  I have a different form that I have created where I have different symbols that I use if I sent an email, made a phone call, had a campus visit, contacted the parents, contacted youth coaches, etc.   
2. I use a different sheet that looks like this for tracking my daily goal actions. 
3. I use this during the year with my team to make sure I am consistently having individual conversations with them.
4. I have taught my players to use this sheet to track their goals and for tracking their study habits before tests. 
5. I have  also used this form to keep track of how many times at practice I worked on certain concepts during the year. 

I will then use these tracking forms to reflect on any successes or failures that I might have had throughout the year.  To use the player tracking form as an example, based on where my player relationships are at when my players show up this fall, I can look back to see how much I was in touch with them over the summer to see if it was enough, too little, or maybe even too much communication.  Then I can use those results to tweak my actions to make sure I am doing it better next time around.   

These forms are extremely simple but have been invaluable for me.  I am saving a lot of time and brain power that I can now use on other things that I can be doing to progress my program forward.  

I’d love to hear if you have other ways to use a form like this.  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to see the forms that I have created, just email me and I will send them to you. 

Have a great week.

Mandy Green
Coaching Productivity Strategies
 http://www.mandygreencps.com

Reduce Think Time With ChecklistsMonday, January 25th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

There are a lot of tasks that we do as coaches every day, week and year in the office, with our teams, staff, and with recruiting.  In an effort to save time and stress in the office, for any task that you have to do over and over, find a way to automate it by using a checklist.
 
Basically, any time you can set up a system whereby you as a coach can reduce the amount of ‘think time’ you have to spend to complete a task, you will save time and almost guarantee that you will do it right every time.

For example, setting up a successful campus visit potentially can take a lot of time because there are a lot of details involved.  

As a reader of Dan Tudor’s blogs or if you have read his book How To Have Freaking Awesome Campus Visits, you know that you need to plan every possible area of your visit and your interaction with your recruits because they are watching your every move, and making judgment calls along the way as to whether or not to buy what you’re selling. On-campus visits are a pretty big deal, are a lot of work to set up, and can make or break your recruiting efforts.  

An easy way to reduce the time it takes to schedule the visit and make sure that everything gets taken care of is to invest a few hours creating a streamlined procedure and have everything documented on an on-campus visit checklist.

The reason why checklists are good is simple: it’s easy for us to forget things. When you do something that involves multiple steps, it’s likely that you would forget one or two of them. Using checklists ensures that you won’t forget anything.

Checklist are crucial especially if you have had turnover on your coaching staff or in case the coach who usually organizes the campus visit is not around for whatever reason.

Besides helping you do your tasks correctly every time, here are some other benefits of using a checklist:

  • Creating a checklist will allow you to take the thinking out of repetitive tasks.  Since you don’t have to remember all the steps you need to take, you can use your brain power for something else.
  • You can save time.  When you have to think, remember, weigh your options, and agonize over every small task, it takes a lot of time, not to mention mental energy.  But when you make decisions in advance, you free up time to focus on other important activities that need to get done.
  • You can delegate more easily.  If your recruiting coordinator is out recruiting, is ill, takes another job, or whatever, you don’t have to rush around trying to figure out what to do because every step for setting up a perfect on-campus visit is already outlined and recorded down on your on-campus visit checklist.

Start by writing down the steps you take when planning a visit from the start to the end of the visit. What tasks need to be done?  Who is responsible for doing each task?  When do tasks need to be done by?  What is the phone number and email of the people you would want the recruits to meet with?  What paperwork do you need completed by the recruits?  What compliance paperwork needs to be done?  I could go on and on but you get the idea.
   
Taking the time to map out each step in the process and document all of the important details will take a lot of work the first time you do it.  But because these will be steps you need to take every time you have an on-campus visit, by following a checklist you will save a TON of time in the long run and no important details will be forgotten.   

Off the top of my head, here are four other things that you might want to create a checklist for:

  • Running a successful practice
  • Game-day routines
  • Travel procedures
  • Camp Procedures

I urge you to evaluate all tasks that you do on a repetitive, routine basis to see if you can dream up ways to do them faster and better.  Take the time to create a checklist for all of these repetitive tasks and record all of the details involved.  You will be amazed at how much time and mental energy you will save when you are working off a checklist instead of trying to accomplish a task off of memory.    

If you have a great idea that you want to share, please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.

Have a great week!

Mandy Green
Coaching Productivity Strategies

Two Critical Time Management Mistakes Coaches MakeMonday, January 4th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

First, I want to thank all of the coaches who have gotten on the phone with me in the last 2 weeks to do a free productivity consultation! I loved every minute of every call! I will extend my offer 1 more week.  I want to help you set up your most productive and least chaotic coaching year yet and would love an opportunity to get on the phone with you. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com to set up an appointment.

Coach, have you ever come back from lunch, checked your email, fiddled around on the web, and realized that two or three hours had just slipped away from you?   Every day, so many coaches engage themselves in activities that are not relevant to their goals, recruiting, or their vision for their program. These coaches waste an enormous amount of time every day and they aren’t even aware that they are doing it.

Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and best-selling author, says most people can waste up to one and a half hours per day because of time-management mistakes. That’s seven and a half hours per week… almost an entire work day!  It’s not a solid block of an hour and a half, but a minute here and a minute there, like a leaky hot water faucet…drip, drip, drip…it doesn’t seem like a major loss, but at the end the day, we’re dumping gallons of hot water down the drain.

The simple truth is that if you could just avoid or properly manage these 2 time-wasters I talk about below, you would be free to accomplish your goals and grow your program in profound ways.

I will talk about 2 time wasters here but obviously there are a ton more that I talk about in my Green Time Management workbook for College Coaches. Each one has the potential to really eat your time and heighten your stress levels. Even if you’re doing O.K. with one of the two areas I’m going to talk about, that one area you’re failing at can short-circuit your entire day.

1.Multi-Tasking

 

Every coach likes to think they’re great at multi-tasking, and some of them actually do ok. But there is a limit to how many things you can do at once without taking away from the quality of your work…and it almost always greatly increases the time it takes to finish each project. Experts estimate that the tendency to start and stop a task, to pick it up, put it down and come back to it can increase the time necessary to complete the task by as much as 500%. That means that a task that should take 10 minutes to complete now takes almost an hour.

That’s why it is very important to absorb yourself with one thing at a time. Give that task your full attention and complete it before moving on to the next thing. By concentrating single-mindedly on your most important task, you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more. Do your most important task first. Do it until it’s completed. Then, and only then, move on to the next most important task.

2. Meetings

 

We have all been in meetings that don’t start on time, seem to have no purpose, are way too long, or don’t end when they should. Those terrible meetings should tell you something about how your meetings should go.

First: Have a purpose and stick only to that purpose.

Second: Your meeting should start on time.

Third: Your meeting should have a time limit

Fourth: Your meeting should end on time.

To sum up, if you say you are going to have a meeting from 11:30 to 12:00 to discuss the practice for the day, you better start your meeting at 11:30, it better be about the practice for the day and nothing else, and it better be over by 12:00.

No matter what sport you coach, time is valuable and work is interconnected. If you fail to start meetings on time or fail to meet commitments, you affect the work of the rest of your staff. Schedule blocks of time for each item to be discussed and then keep track of the time. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all staff members involved are updated.

The key point here with both of these time wasters is to STAY FOCUSED That’s all that really matters. Refuse to let other things distract you from the task at hand and you can triple your productivity in the office. It may be difficult at first but the more you practice it, the easier it will get.

Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Coaching Productivity Strategies, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more awesome collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.mandygreencps.com and opt-in. 

 

“Do-Not-Do” ListsMonday, December 28th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

We all have a tremendous amount to do these days.  Between recruiting, managing and training the team, office stuff, meetings, camps, etc, our to-do lists are getting longer and more out of control.

If you are one of the many coaches out there who is overwhelmed trying to get everything done, I want to help you regain control over your workload by helping you make better choices.  Since we only have so much time to get things done, you need to CHOOSE what gets done and what doesn’t get done. You must consciously choose what you will work on based on how it will affect your program and the results you want to produce and you need to delay or eliminate other less important items from your schedule. You can’t find more time, but you can always change the way you use the time you already have.

Many productivity and time-management experts say the most helpful list you may ever create is one outlining what not to do. “Do-not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance in the office.  

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

The idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity.  This is a list of activities that are time-wasters, your list of people not to talk to because they’re time vampires, your do-not-eat list, your not-to-have-in the office list, etc.

In his best-seller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins lauds the value of a “stop-doing” list: “Those who built the good-to-great companies… made as much use of stop-doing lists as to-do lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

I believe that there are 2 ways to figure out what should go on your do-not-do-list.

  1. The first step in deciding what not to do in your life is zeroing in on what you ultimately want to achieve. “If you really get clear about your real goals, visions and values, it will be easier to cut the extraneous things off your lists that aren’t that purposeful for you,” says David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
  2. The second way to figure out what not-to-do is to time track.  Write down on the left hand side of a piece of paper the day’s times in 15-minute increments. As your day goes along, write down what you’re doing at that time all day long so you can identify things that you may be wasting too much time on in the office. By taking a realistic look at how you spend your time, you can determine which activities don’t yield valuable results in return for the time and effort they require. Then, you can cut those time-wasters out of your life.

Here are a few examples of things that could be on your do-not-do list.

Do not check facebook during work hours

Do not check email constantly

Do not multitask when I am working on recruiting

Do not get sucked in by office gossip

 Seeing through on your do-not-do list ultimately may take sheer force of will. Like everything, you will get better with practice.  Jim Collins writes, “The real question is… do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?”

 When you get stuck on your not-to-do list, you waste time and end the day frustrated because you didn’t get anything done.  Make your list and post it where you can always see it to remind yourself of what you should not be doing.  Enlist the support of co-workers to help keep you on track.  If you find yourself doing something on your do-not-do list, get up, walk around, refocus, and then get back after your important to-do list items.  Good luck!

I’d love to hear what makes your list!  Please email me your list at mandy@mandygreencps.com

As a thank you for reading, I want to offer you a free 15-minute productivity consultation with me! I want to help you set up your most productive and least chaotic coaching year yet. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com to set up an appointment. Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Coaching Productivity Strategies, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more awesome collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.mandygreencps.com and opt-in. 

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